TNP scores a first as title sponsor of the League Cup
The New Paper is new title sponsor of the League Cup which starts on June 19
Over the years, The New Paper has scored many firsts.
Yesterday, TNP became the first local newspaper to put its name to the 2015 League Cup, which will take place from June 19 to July 12.
At the tournament's draw at the Singapore Press Holdings auditorium yesterday afternoon, Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League chief executive officer Lim Chin hailed the partnership.
"The New Paper is widely regarded as the football newspaper in Singapore," he said.
"Their coverage of football, both local and foreign, is extensive, authoritative and, in many instances, unparalleled, and the S.League is delighted to have The New Paper as our title sponsor for this season's League Cup.
"It is a perfect fit for the No. 1 football newspaper to partner the No. 1 sport in Singapore."
TNP editor Dominic Nathan shared the opinion.
"TNP is delighted to partner the Football Association of Singapore as the title sponsor for the 2015 League Cup," he said.
"As Singapore's football paper, it makes perfect sense for us to put our name on one of the premier local cup competitions.
"We aim to bring our unique TNP flavour to the tournament and, working together with FAS, we are confident we will give football fans good reason to go and catch League Cup matches live at the stadiums."
The New Paper League Cup will see a number of format changes.
For one, there will be no plate competition, which has been a feature of the League Cup since 2012.
The tournament winners will receive $30,000, while the runners-up will receive $15,000.
A Most Valuable Player award will also be given to the star individual player of the tournament, who will be given a trophy and $1,000.
Since the matches will be played in the Muslim month of Ramadan, kick-off times for games will also be pushed to 8pm, from the usual 7.30pm.
The tournament draw yesterday saw the 10 participating teams - made up of eight S.League sides and two amateur National Football League (NFL) teams Singapore Recreation Club and Sporting Westlake - divided into three groups.
Group A, which has four teams, will see the top two advance to the semi-finals, where they will be joined by the winners of Group B and C.
The winners of Group A will face the winners of Group C, while the runners-up of Group A will face the winners of Group B.
Having covered local football since 2000, TNP correspondent Gary Lim saw many familiar faces at the SPH auditorium yesterday, but he might have irked one or two old friends by drawing 2013 League Cup champions Balestier Khalsa alongside reigning S.League champions Warriors FC and powerhouses Tampines Rovers in Group B, in what is touted as the "Group of Death".
Tampines' general manager Tay Peng Kee joked: "I want to hantam (local slang for whack) him now.
"But, seriously, in a cup competition like this, every group is the same because it's about winning matches."
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic added: "It's a tough group but, then again, we've seen in the S.League this season that every team can beat each other.
"To be honest, I can't see an easy group."
Warriors coach Alex Weaver said: "If you want to win a cup competition, at some point, you got to beat the strong teams.
"And, if you think you're the best, you have to beat the best teams. We have two tough games ahead of us and we will be ready for them."
Singapore Recreational Club (NFL)
Sporting Westlake (NFL)
*Tickets for the League Cup are priced at $5 (adults) and $1 (concession).